Ismail Sabri: No addition to EMCO unless declared

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

SENIOR Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday denied reports of further lockdown in some parts of Kuala Lumpur (KL) but acknowledged that certain areas were under tighter surveillance.

Several news outlets had reported that at least three areas in KL namely Jalan Raja Bot in Kampung Baru and residential areas Taman Wilayah and Taman Desa Bakti in Selayang have been placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

“There are no additional EMCO areas unless I announce it. However, we have stepped up surveillance in some areas for administrative purposes.

“Barbed wires may have been installed in the surrounding areas, but we have not declared any EMCO. We are also doing swab tests there,” he said.

The three areas are located near Covid-19 red zones. A Federal Territories Ministry source had informed an online daily that the three areas were placed under the EMCO, while an official from KL City Hall had also confirmed the same with another English daily.

Under strict EMCO rules, nobody can enter or leave the area. Instead, residents will need to rely on food aid distributed to them as health officials conduct mass testing.

Seven EMCOs have been declared so far with the latest involving residential parcels in Selayang Baru, Gombak.

The reports came just two days after the Conditional MCO (CMCO) came into effect as the government eased restrictions for the first time in almost two months.

The Health Ministry last week said it had the option to conduct EMCO as a stopgap measure against new outbreaks under the CMCO.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri urged all employers to test their foreign workers for Covid-19 to prevent a scenario like Singapore’s.

Malaysia recorded two consecutive three-digit daily increases in cases just days before the CMCO came into force.

The recent spikes in new infections came from new clusters linked to migrant workers.

“As I have said, this is a preventive measure because we do not want the situation in Singapore to happen here. They have managed to flatten the curve at one point before the foreign worker cluster pushed the number of cases back up. I hope employers can understand this.

“The point of the test is to identify and segregate those who are positive with those who are healthy and can continue to work. If the positive case infects other workers, the entire factory or business facility will have to be shut down. So, it is better that a test is done first,” Ismail Sabri said.

It was previously reported that the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) was against the testing requirement, describing the move as a knee-jerk reaction to the recent cases detected at a construction site in Jalan Ampang.

MEF ED Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said a swab test would cost at least RM500 per worker.

With 2.3 million registered foreign workers in the country, the process could cost up to RM1.15 billion.

The Malaysian Indian Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry described the move as a burden.